We check back in with Oliver Vranesh, winner of The Next Sneaker Design Star contest, on Day 2 of his apprenticeship with Reebok Classic in Canton, Mass.
The Reebok campus is pretty amazing. Employees here have the chance to shoot hoops, work out, or play soccer during their lunch break. Reebok seems like it is definitely a cool place to work.
The designers from the Classics team gave me a tour of the campus and their design resources. Their work environment seemed like a relaxed studio filled with cool posters, sneakers, and stuff that serves as design inspiration. It's a very open and communal environment between teams, which I think creates a great dynamic with the designers.
The Materials Library at Reebok was very impressive. They had a large supply of meshes, leathers, plastics, etc. There were some cool new technologies in textile design that I’m probably not allowed to talk about. The library is well organized, efficient, and well documented. They even save the material from past seasons just in case they want to reference previous designs.
After the Materials Library we visited the Prototype Lab which was really the icing on the cake. Having a resource like this as a designer must be such a luxury. Basically in the lab you could take a design from 2D into 3D (maybe for a meeting) in less than three days. Having the ability to fully explain your design two-dimensionally and three-dimensionally proves as an excellent resource for clarification. The lab was filled with lasts, 3D printers, outsoles, materials, and basically anything a designer can use to get their idea across.
Also in the Prototype Lab, there were shoes for Yao Ming, Shaq, and Igor, a man who is 7-8. I think he wears a size 28, and Reebok made a custom pair of sneakers just for him. I don’t know exactly what the whole entire story is behind it, but his sneakers were the size of my torso.